Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

“I think my dad is seeing someone.”

Hey Terra,

A couple weeks ago I was at my dad's apartment and on the table was his name in a heart with another lady. My parents aren't split up permanently yet -- they are just on a break. Anyway I talked to him and he said that it was nothing and that he wasn't seeing anyone, but something inside won't let me believe him.


Dear Confused,

You say your parents are "just on a break". What goes on in a couple is private and unless your parents have shared the details of their arrangement with you, you can't possibly know what's going on. Sometimes couples take a break and use the time to work on their problems, with a counselor or a therapist. Sometimes that work leads them to deciding to get back together and sometimes it doesn't. If you'd like to know what this "break" your parents are taking means to them, you could always ask them. They aren't required to tell you, though.

I'm glad you asked your dad about the heart with the names on it, but what you found doesn't prove that he's got a girlfriend. Neither does his denial prove that it isn't so.

What you found is called 'circumstantial evidence' which is evidence based on inference (something implied) rather than personal knowledge or observation. For example, if it's raining outside and you see your dad standing in the living room with his hair and clothing dripping wet you might infer, or assume that he had just come in from out of the rain, but you don't know that for sure because you didn't actually see him out there. The truth may be that he stepped into the bathroom shower with his clothes on. (Not likely, but possible.)

I understand why your inner voice is telling you something's up, but if you were sitting on a jury, what you've got for evidence isn't enough to convict him.

I suggest you sit with these feelings for a bit. I don't think it would be helpful to share them with your mom at this point. How about if you take a "wait and see" approach? If you see any new evidence that he's seeing anyone, talk to him about it again.

How's that sound to you?

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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